I’ve never been the most organised of people. Looking at the finer details aren’t really my thing, and I wholeheartedly believe that everything will work itself out in the end. Aside from the potentiality of death, or the loss of a limb etc, everything will always be okay. More often than not, things work their way out to be even better than you imagined they would be.
An example of such being my completely disorganised trip to Budapest a couple of weeks ago. I arrived in the city with no idea where I was going to stay. Not one clue. After getting a shuttle to somewhere that looked promising, my hopes were instantly shattered by the three words no tired, hot and completely unprepared backpacker wants to hear; ‘No rooms available.’ I wandered around the city for what seemed like a lifetime on the hunt for another hostel, stumbled across Bazaar, and had one of the best weeks of my life. The people I met, the hostel staff and the hostel itself were all largely better than anticipated, and my disorganised way of living life served me well.
My current state of affairs however, isn’t so peachy. Even though everything has worked its way out… I found myself bitterly cursing my own stupidity several times en route to this situation. The situation is this; I’m in Italy. I thoroughly disliked Milan (it was full of mosquitoes, expensive food, designer shops and not much more). I got a train to Pisa, which was okay for the day. And then I had a vague, unformed notion that I would go to Elba, an island on the West of Italy, famous for the fact that Napoleon got exiled here. On the morning of my departure, I still hadn’t booked anywhere to stay. It’ll be fine – I tell myself – there are looooooooooooads of cheap places to stay on a small island in the middle of the summer, of course!
After a couple of stays at less than desirable hostels, I decided to actually book somewhere on this very same morning. 28 Euros a night for a room on a campsite… seemed legit. Only after I had paid for this ‘room’ did it dawn on me that this was a campsite… not a hostel. Do campsites have rooms? I checked on the campsite website, and there it was. Rooms. Hurrah! I hadn’t screwed everything up.
I caught the trains, boarded the ferry and got off at the designated port. Walking into a restaurant, I asked the waiter to order me a taxi. I speak no Italian, he speaks no English. 2 and a half hours, my second mysteriously free espresso of Italy, a sangria and a pastry later, and I was on the back of this guys motorbike, backpack and all, going far too fast to what I hoped was to be my accommodation for the weekend.
We did indeed arrive at my accommodation… and as originally anticipated, I had booked a tent site. Not even a tent, just a site for a tent. I have no tent. This was an embarrassing turn of events to say the least, but the very nice people who run this place set up a tent for me and I was on my way.
Even though I could have been in a fairly nice hostel room by the sea or in the nearby town, and instead I am sweating my face off every night in a tent on a campsite in the middle of nowhere, everything has turned out okay. I have a roof over my head, even if it is made of canvas, and I’ve had a relatively pleasant weekend.
Has this experience encouraged me to be a little more organised…? Maybe. But until something goes drastically wrong, then I guess this is just the way it’s going to be. Hopefully no more tents will arise in the next four months… but if it does, then at least it’ll make a fairly entertaining story to tell. And in my opinion, the stories you make and the experiences you have are what travels all about.